We are walkers and love doing it, so a one hour stroll north of Edinburgh brought us into the port district of Leith, where we found Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia. This former Royal Yacht (the 83rd such vessel since the time of Charles II) of Queen Elizabeth II was in service to the monarchy between 1954, when construction was completed, until 1997, when it was decommissioned, Britannia was designed in such a way that in time of war, the Royal family could take refuge on board along the northwest coast of Scotland. It's first official use was to pick up the Queen and Prince Philip from Tobruk (where they had been visiting) and bring them back to the U.K. Prince Charles and Princess Diana spent their honeymoon the Royal Yacht, as well as Prince William and Kate. Four U.S. Presidents (Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton) also spent time on board. One annual event was for the Royal family to cruise around the islands off the west coast of Scotland for the month of August. HMY Britannia made nearly 700 foreign visits in its 43 year history. It's last official sailing was to carry the Prince of Wales and the last Governor of Hong Kong (Chris Patten) away from the city following its handover to the People's Republic of China. In May of 1997, Britannia was retired and no replacement would be built (which we feel is unfortunate as the ambassadorial value alone would make it worthwhile to keep around). It is now part of the National Historical Fleet and is maintained by the Royal Britannia Trust.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.